I have seen numerous attorneys fail the bar exam and give up practicing law completely. In fact, over the course of my career I have seen this process unfold more times than I can remember.
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I have seen graduates of Yale
and Stanford Law School
fail the bar exam multiple times. It is often the smartest people who fail the bar exam – simply because they do not take the test as seriously as it needs to be taken.
In prestigious and high-ranked law schools, professors and others do not even talk about the bar exam. The idea is that the students are so intelligent and special that failing is not even something that has been or will be contemplated. This is a very dangerous mentality.
In contrast, many lower-ranked law schools start talking to their students about the importance of the bar exam from the first day they step in the door. I used to be a professor at a low-ranked law school, and the school would deliberately flunk out a significant percentage of its class each year because it wanted to make sure it had high bar exam passage rates.
I remember receiving telephone calls from students asking me to raise their grades by just a “plus or minus” to ensure they did not flunk out. This was very disappointing, but there was a certain logic to it: the students who flunked out were generally not the hardest working; some just “did not get it.”
Here are ten tips I strongly recommend law school graduates do in the event of failing the bar exam.
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Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.
Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.
To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.